Efficient dual-modal NIR-to-NIR emission of rare earth ions co-doped nanocrystals for biological fluorescence imaging

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Journal Article
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2013, 4 (3), pp. 402 - 408
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A novel approach has been developed for the realization of efficient near-infrared to near-infrared (NIR-to-NIR) upconversion and down-shifting emission in nanophosphors. The efficient dual-modal NIR-to-NIR emission is realized in a β-NaGdF4/Nd3+@NaGdF4/Tm 3+-Yb3+ core-shell nanocrystal by careful control of the identity and concentration of the doped rare earth (RE) ion species and by manipulation of the spatial distributions of these RE ions. The photoluminescence results reveal that the emission efficiency increases at least 2-fold when comparing the materials synthesized in this study with those synthesized through traditional approaches. Hence, these core-shell structured nanocrystals with novel excitation and emission behaviors enable us to obtain tissue fluorescence imaging by detecting the upconverted and down-shifted photoluminescence from Tm3+ and Nd3+ ions, respectively. The reported approach thus provides a new route for the realization of high-yield emission from RE ion doped nanocrystals, which could prove to be useful for the design of optical materials containing other optically active centers. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
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